More and more vehicles are leaving the production line with features such as adaptive cruise control, lane assist and park assist. ADAS and AD camera systems are playing an increasing role in cars, as part of the advance towards fully self-driving cars. At the same time, the limited optical quality of the windscreen can hamper this development. Footage from various cameras has to be combined into one image with radar signals. This requires processing power, especially when those images do not exactly reflect reality. One of the restrictions of autonomous driving will be the computing power needed.
“Safety glass is comprised of multiple layers that cause minor lens distortions,” Bart Driehuis, director of DK, explains. His company specialises in making car windows for prototypes and concept cars. “Such distortions are stronger the closer the camera lens is placed to the windscreen. The more reliable the images are, the less processing power is required for the algorithm.”
Simply positioning the cameras further from the windscreen leads to an accumulation of new problems, such as a lack of available space, restrictions to the design of the car and the possibility of dirt on the lens. Applying a wide-angle lens is not an option either. Improving the optical qualities of the entire windscreen is a very costly operation. DK’s solution is as price-conscious as it is effective: “What if we only improve optical quality where the cameras are situated?”
For this, DK integrates the camera system into the safety glass. Bart Driehuis explains, “We are improving the optical quality of the windscreen by a factor of ten or even twenty in a localised manner, only where it is necessary. This technique also makes it possible to apply LiDAR technology in the car. In short, with our invention, optical limitations to the windscreen no longer form a barrier to the development of increasingly self-driving cars. The camera system provides a sharp image that reflects reality,” Driehuis guarantees. He concludes by making a convenient reference to another DK innovation. “Particularly when you combine it with our patented windscreen wiper cleaning system.”